"Abuela" by Arthur Dorros
Illustrated by Elisa Kleven
I absolutely love the book "Abuela" by Arthur Dorros. I consider this to be one of the best children's multicultural books around. The book is in English and has certain Spanish words or phrases that teach a child to read and learn some Spanish words as well.
"Abuela" is a wonderful story of a child named "Rosalba", and her grandmother "Abuela", who take an imaginary ride around the city. As they take this magical ride, and make many stops along the way, the book goes on to describe certain words in Spanish that Rosalba and Abuela came across on that day. Certain phrases and words such as "Buenos Dias", which means "Good morning", and "Me gusta", which mean "I like", are just two of many Spanish words or phrases that are used in this book on Rosalba's adventure. What makes this book so thrilling for children is the way Rosalba has a very vibrant imagination as you can see at the very beginning, where she all of a sudden she gets the idea to fly through the city with her grandmother, all from watching the birds fly around in the park.
I think this book, along with I'm sure many multicultural books, depending on how they are written, is an important tool to have in the classroom. I find that a child that is brought up bilingual, benefits more in the long run because of the multicultural society we live in today. I find my class finds it fascinating when we celebrate multicultural month, and the books in my library are changed to that theme. The amused looks on their faces are adorable when they try to pronounce the English words in Spanish. Obviously with the help of my assistant, together we watch their reactions to each other as they make the sounds with their mouths and tongues. Books like "Abuela" are a great tool and remind me a certain popular cartoon "Dora the Explorer" in a way. The show and book teach a lesson in language. Like the show, this book I certainly recommend to a class, because right after the Spanish word or phrase is said, the book immediately follows the word in English so the child knows exactly what it means. In this case "Abuela" is obviously a Spanish teaching book, however I know there are other educating multicultural and language books as well.
''Abuela" also takes you to a part of the book where the author really touches upon the Spanish culture a bit. There is a part of the book that the author is very clever and describes the land where Abuela grew up. Arthur Dorros explains the different fruits in Spanish, including "mangos", "bananas" and "papayas". Rosalba also mentions that Abuela loves The Statue Of Liberty because it would remind her of when she first came to this country.
Another feature in this book that I love are the illustrations by Elisa Kleven. The pictures on every page match the Spanish culture perfectly. The vivid colors really give you a glimpse of this colorful culture in every way. Even the outfits that both Rosalba and Abuela are wearing are the vivacious dresses that Spanish girls and women wear in their Spanish culture.
This book really touches upon almost every aspect of the Spanish culture. From translation of words, to the colors, to the foods described and clothing. "Abuela" is the book to read teaching us about this fascinating, yet colorful culture.